The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini tells the story of a young man in Kabul before the Taliban, his life in America and his amazing journey of heroism that calls him back to Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Throughout the novel, Amir embarks on a mental journey as he transitions from a carefree and mischievous boy, to a guilt-ridden young man, and finally a strong and selfless father.
Amir starts off as an insecure boy with a scheming nature. He first shows his deceitful ways when he manipulates his innocent "friend" Hassan's inability to read. " 'Let' see. 'Imbecile'. It means smart, intelligent."(25). Amir uses Hassan's weakness as a way to assert his power and trick someone who doesn't know any better. You see this same attitude later on when Amir discovers his niche for story-telling. "Words were secret doorways and I held all the keys."(26). Amir uses tricking Hassan as a way to make up for the insecurities he has because of his father's neglect. He uses it as a tool to almost punish Hassan for Baba's bias towards him. The start of Amir's mental journey shows a playful personality on the surface but a jealous kid fighting for his father's love on the inside.
A huge step in Amir's mental journey throughout the book is the overwhelming guilt he experiences and his internal battle with it. Amir is taken over by guilt after witnessing Hassan suffer at the hands of a horrible psychopath and failing to help his friend for his own personal gain. "I felt as empty as this unkempt pool I was dangling my legs in" (74). Although Amir's biggest wish, which was a good relationship with Baba, was fulfilled he was still very disappointed in himself for how he gained Baba's love. The remorse that Amir feels prompts a recurrence of his devious nature. "I lifted Hassan's mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghan bills under it."(91). Amir frames Hassan for theft, essentially, to relieve himself of seeing the embodiment of his sins everyday. The guilt Amir acquires in this time of his life starts a mental journey that will not end until he's a grown man.
Amir's psychological journey ends with him finally letting go of his past and opening himself up to Soraya and being a father to Sohrab. The weight of guilt is finally lifted off of Amir's shoulders when he saves Hassan's son, Sohrab. "My body is broken... but I felt healed. Healed at last."(253). The pain Amir had to go through to save Sohrab was the thing that finally made him feel like he had paid for his wrong doing all those years ago. Through this journey Amir becomes a strong man who is caring enough to even help Sohrab open up to the world again. "...I just witnessed the first flake melting."(324). This is referring to the first sign, since Sohrab came to America, of him letting Amir in. Amir welcomes Sohrab into his home, opens up to his wife for the first time, and becomes a father figure to Sohrab, all of which, the immature kid in the beginning could've never dreamed of.
The driving force for the whole book is Amir's mental state. He would've never gone on this journey of self discovery if he had never experienced remorse for witnessing Hassan's rape. Through this journey Amir finds his true self as being a person that is independent and worthy of his wife and Sohrab.